The Guy Who Could Sell Anything to Anybody
What's more, act now and you will receive a second set free!
That's 50 pieces of cutlery for roughly 80¢ each.
Saying that one of these things cost $100 retail is preposterous.
How Does Ron Popeil Get Away With It?
The infomercial is a fascinating powerhouse of two master salesmen at work—spectacular theater. A viewer watching the live audience laughing, cheering and applauding on cue—plus the avalanche of knives—will be immediately swept up in the drama and excitement.
They forget the ancient caveat: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
This is a stunning production. A great offer. But in my opinion claiming these knives are really worth hundreds of dollars should destroy the credibility. Instead, Popeil & Co. have created a "willing suspension of disbelief."
The infomercial is obviously a huge success, because it runs month in, month out.
The late great guru Dick Benson said, "Direct mail should be scrupulously honest."
I believe this dictum applies to all media.
I find it sad, because Ron and Cousin Arnold demonstrate the knives in action. This is not fakery. No Photoshop here. They are obviously splendid. And easily worth $39.99
My opinion: These hundreds of dollars in so-called "retail values" are not needed.
Without the retail values, the whole thing is still believable—and amazing.
And he does not run the risk of getting into hot water with the FTC.
I wonder if it's been tested—with and without the retail pricing. My guess it has and the results so much stronger that the risk is worth it.
Takeaways to Consider
- If copy states that an item normally sells at retail for $17.95, it must be proved at some point it was offered at that price somewhere.
- The Ronco infomercial is a fascinating powerhouse of two master salesmen at work—spectacular theater. A viewer watching the live audience laughing, cheering and applauding on cue-plus the avalanche of knives-will be immediately swept up in the drama and excitement.
- The audience—in the studio and viewers at home—forget the ancient caveat: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
- "Direct mail [indeed, all media] should be scrupulously honest." —Dick Benson
- Create a willing suspension of disbelief and you're on your way to a sale.
- "People love to be sold." —Franklin Watts